Investor Tommy Jacobson puts several startup heavyweights on the board of directors of his new venture capital company, Zenith. His message for startups is simple: Get yourself a sound business model – a bunch of users is not enough.
The founder of the investment company Varenne is stepping into the tech industry with his new venture capital company Zenith, which he founded last fall.
He has recruited several prominent entrepreneurs and businessmen to the board. Among them are the Mats Forsberg, co-founder of Urb-it, Christopher Lindfelt, who is currently an executive at fintech company Bambora, and Lars Roth, investment manager at Telia Sonera.
“Varenne isn’t focused on tech at all, so I started this company as a complement. I know a lot of people in tech who know more than me about the industry. So I tried to find a dream team for the board when I started this company”, Tommy Jacobson says.
Tommy Jacobson has already invested in several tech companies. He owns “just short of 10 percent”, as he phrases it, of Urb-it, and the streaming company Magine, which we have written about before.
Zenith has invested around $9 million so far, and there are still “a number of millions” left in the fund. The plan is to invest $1-2.5 million (10 and 20 million SEK) in the companies that Zenith bets on.
“There are a lot people who are reaching out to us, so we have many different cases to look at”, Tommy Jacobson says.
Zenith has already invested $1.8 million (15 million SEK) in Vionlabs, and $2.5 million (20 million SEK) in Shopbox, a Danish company that sells payment solutions to the restaurant industry.
Zenith also owns 4 percent of the headphones manufacturer Zound Industries, and Tommy Jacobson owns an additional 14 percent through Varenne.
What’s your take on the fact that you are investing more in startups while the startup capital market is cooling down?
“The largest divider will be whether the companies know how to make money or not. We will only invest in companies that can show how they will make money from their service. That’s the case with both Shopbox and Vionlabs”, he says and adds:
“I think companies that are just building a user base with out a plan for capitalizing on said user base are facing tougher times. I think that we will se many new issues of shares in those companies.”
How many investments are you looking to make in 2016?
“It’s more important for us to make good investments than a lot of them. We won’t have a portfolio of a hundred companies, but rather a smaller portfolio where we can work actively with the companies and bring experience to their businesses.”